HIGHLAND PARK — Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler is confident that after she speaks with Stop & Shop they may reconsider closing their store in 2023.

Stop & Shop announced that its downtown store on Raritan Avenue will close in 2023 although no date has been announced.

"After a detailed review of the operating performance of our stores, we have made the difficult decision to not renew our lease at our store located at 424 Raritan Ave in Highland Park, NJ. All store associates will have the opportunity to transfer to other area Stop & Shop locations," spokeswoman Maura O'Brien said in a statement.

Mittler said the decision does not bode well for the borough she describes as a "walking community."

"We have plenty of people who don't drive and have the opportunity to walk to the supermarket in town," Mitter said, adding the closest large supermarket is in Edison.

Stop & Shop makes a charitable donation in 2017
Stop & Shop makes a charitable donation in 2017 (Highland Park, New Jersey)
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An incentive to stay

It's not the first time Stop & Shop has threatened to close during her time in office, according to Mittler. Each time she's been able to convince the Massachusetts-based grocery chain of its importance to the community. This time around she may have an economic ace up her sleeve.

"We have a pretty significant redevelopment plan that we put in place for Highland Park. We're already seeing the fruits of that plan on some of the properties we have put into the redevelopment plan where developers are clamoring to build in Highland Park, Mittler said. "That would include additional residents which may make it more enticing for a supermarket of some kind to be in Highland Park."

No matter what happens to Stop & Shop Mittler is grateful to the company for their support of the borough.

"In the past Stop & Shop has been a wonderful partner with my community helping with many different food crises with our residents. I am hoping that I'll be able to have more conversations with them to find a way to make it easier for them to come to the decision to stay in Highland Park in some way, shape or form," Mittler said.

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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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